A key element of meth decontamination is following important health and safety protocols. The health and safety protocols associated with meth decontamination begin the moment a suspected site is identified. There are five broad categories associated with the health and safety protocols associated with meth decontamination:
- Thorough site assessment
- Secure contaminated premises
- Proper personal protective equipment
- Physical dangers associated with premises
- State, local, institutional health and safety protocols
Thorough Site Assessment
The first step in the comprehensive meth decontamination process is a thorough site assessment. Health and safety considerations are of primary concern when it comes to the process of making a thorough site assessment. The bottom line is that those charged with making an initial site assessment to ascertain whether meth contamination exists must always presume that it does.
Health and safety protocols associated with making an initial site assessment include ensuring that those involved in that process don appropriate personal protective equipment or PPE. PPE will be discussed in greater detail in a moment.
The initial site assessment includes testing the premises to identify the presence of meth at the property. This typically is undertaken by obtaining swab samples at different locations on the premises. In addition, testing for the presence of meth at a property may also include taking air samples in some cases.
Health and safety also come into play when it comes to another aspect of the thorough site assessment. The assessment needs to include an inspection of the premises to identify any inherent dangers in the property. Those involved in making the initial site assessment to be diligent to protect themselves from such hazards. In addition, the site assessment needs to identify and catalog any hazards at the property that potentially can expose those involved in meth decontamination to harm.
Secure Contaminated Premises
Meth decontamination health and safety protocols demand that a contaminated site be secured. No one should be permitted entry into a meth contaminated site. The only individuals who should be allowed into a meth contaminated property are those directly involved with some aspect of the testing or decontamination efforts. Anyone granted permission to enter the premises must be outfitted in appropriate PPE.
Proper Personal Protective Equipment
The health and safety of a person involved in a meth decontamination effort must have access to suitable PPE. Moreover, the PPE used in a meth decontamination project must be properly donned by a person to be involved in the remediation process. This typically necessitates teamwork in putting on PPE in advance of entering a meth contaminated site.
PPE for a meth decontamination project cannot be something cobbled together. Minimum standards need to be met when it comes to PPE both for the testing and the actual decontamination phase of meth remediation.
Recommended PPE for the testing phase of meth decontamination includes:
- Nitrile gloves
- Wrist and arm protective covering
- Protective eyewear
- Disposable N100 or P100 FFR respirator device
Recommended PPE for the actual decontamination work at a site includes:
- Nitrile gloves (recommended course is to wear double nitrile gloves)
- Chemical hazards protective ensemble (NFPA 1999 single or multiple-use ensemble or 1994 class four ensemble)
- SCBA respiratory protection (full face device)
Physical Dangers Associated With Premises
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As referenced earlier, the health and safety of those involved in meth decontamination demands an awareness of hazards at the premises. The sad reality is that every year people are injured during a meth decontamination effort not by exposure to the drug but by hazards at the premises being remediated unassociated with the contamination itself. Prime examples of where hazardous defects might exist at the premises that have the potential to injury people involved in meth decontamination include:
- Roof defects
- Defective ceilings
- Flooring issues
- Wall defects
- Exposed electrical wires
State, Local, Institutional Health and Safety Protocols
Compliance is another element of ensuring health and safety during a meth decontamination. Many states, localities, and institutions have established protocols for endeavors like meth decontamination. As a consequence, it is necessary for those involved in meth decontamination to ensure that any health and safety protocols mandated by the state, local government, or an entity responsible for a site being remediation are satisfied. More than anything else, these protocols primarily are designed to protect the health and safety of those involved in meth decontamination and others.
As an aside, professional meth decontamination is likely to have its own protocols and standards. Decontamination specialists working for a meth remediation company need to be well-versed on the protocols and standards established by a meth decontamination company. In addition, supervisors of that type of remediation company also need to be vigilant to ensure that meth decontamination specialists on the ground at a particular project are following the established protocols and standards. This strategy enhances the overall safety and wellbeing of those associated with a meth decontamination site.